Withdrawal of Fellowship is God’s Plan for Restoration

Last Sunday was a day which many at Palm Beach Lakes will never forget. It will not be because of the sermons, but because of the visible manifestation of the power of the word of God to transform lives. It was an emotional day with tears of joy because we were reminded again that the word of God is living, active and cuts to the heart.

It was two weeks ago that the elders came before the church and asked the church to help bring about the restoration of three members who had left the Lord. The elders had worked diligently to bring them back, and so they stood before the church asking for all who had any influence on them to give an even more concerted effort to bring them back home. On Sunday, it was so thrilling to be part of  an assembly where two of those who are loved so much returned. Let me share some thoughts about this matter.

Withdrawing from those who have already left the church does work. There are some who think that if one has already stopped attending, we should not withdraw from them. Such is not the case! What if our elders had just ignored these wayward members saying, “Well, just take them off the role, for we have nothing left to withdraw from them”? This past Sunday we saw the folly of such reasoning. God knows how to do His work, and I am thankful our elders lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake! That day ended with families rejoicing, with the church loving those who had returned, with angels rejoicing and with joy on the throne because of what had happened. Even before the final announcement of withdrawal was made, one responded. Then on Sunday night, after the final announcement had been made, another came home. What if we had not withdrawn from those who had already withdrawn from us!

The loving contact made with the wayward helps them come home. Many in this church, over the past two weeks, had used many avenues to let those who had left know we longed for their return. These very thoughts were expressed to me and others. Withdrawal is designed to bring prodigals home.

I grieve that some missed Sunday night worship. You failed to see how much this church loves the lost. You failed to be able to encourage the one who returned. He needed you. You failed to rejoice with families reunited in the Lord. You failed to hear the emotional experience of the confession of wrong which was made. You failed to see visibly that the gospel does work. You failed to have your faith in His working in this church built up. I grieve for you, because I think you failed!

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